Bits & Bytes
IT'S THE INDY 500 OF PC TYPING
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, about the fastest typist ever timed is Barbara Blackburn of Everett, Wash., who has hit 170 words per minute. But that record may get broken during a worldwide personal-computer typing contest now under way as a sales promotion by keyboard maker Key Tronic Corp. and word processing software maker WordPerfect Corp. It's the first such typing test in about 20 years, a Key Tronic spokesman says.
In just two weeks, the PC contest has attracted some 10,000 entrants from around the world, including a 10-year-old girl from Egypt. The first time trial is a pair of five-minute qualifying tests administered by specially programmed computers at selected Key Tronic and WordPerfect dealers and at some 1,600 Manpower Temporary Services locations. Unlike Blackburn, who set her record with the faster Dvorak keyboard layout, contestants will have to use the conventional QWERTY keyboard and type in English. The 200 fastest qualifiers identified by July 31 will move on to semifinals in September. From there, six finalists will compete at the Comdex computer trade show in Las Vegas.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG